Ready to start middle school, I was 12 years old when I was allowed to start wearing cosmetics. My mom took me to the drugstore and treated me to a pastel blue Caboodles container and way too many Cover Girl products – concealer, foundation, blush, eye shadow, pressed powder, and Lip Slickers lip gloss.
I just had muted colors (which was fairly miraculous for the late ’80s!) so my makeup looked fairly natural. But I still had the cosmetics – and I wore them each and every school day.
That day’s purchase started my lifelong cosmetics habit. Unless I’m sick or just working around the house at home, I typically wear makeup. I still only use muted colors so my makeup looks natural. And over the years, I’ve made changes – the foundation, concealer and powder is long gone, but I’ve added eyeliner and mascara.
I also stayed loyal to drugstore brands, using coupons to help replenish my supply.
Until one August Saturday in 2007.
Time for a change
After reading Stacy Malkan’s book, “Not Just a Pretty Face,” I was shocked and disgusted that all of the cosmetics I had used for 20 years were filled with toxins. Had I really exposed myself day after day to such harmful ingredients?
I experimented with mineral cosmetics and was pleased with them, but I put my old faithful (and toxic) products in my Caboodles and tucked it away in my linen closet – just in case. Just in case of what, I don’t know. Just in case I had a makeup emergency? Just in case my cheapskate tendencies forced me to use up the toxic products because I bought them?
On that particular Saturday, I decided to forget about just in case. If I was serious about a healthy lifestyle, I needed to get rid of what I knew was unhealthy.
So I dug out every single cosmetic – new and old – that was filled with toxic, synthetic ingredients, and I threw them in a little plastic trash can.
I kept the trash can filled with the products for a couple months, adding to it whenever I came across another toxic product in my home. Finally, after the trash can was full and my healthy approach to beauty products had become routine, I emptied my trash can into the garbage. (And no – at that point I didn’t even consider recycling the containers. I just wanted everything out of my home.)
Learning a lesson
I might have hesitated – a lot – when making the switch to safe cosmetics. But I did it.
In the process, I learned that sometimes I have to forget about my frugal tendencies. Living cheaply doesn’t necessarily benefit my health.
I also learned that I can successfully take a jump into healthy lifestyle choices. They may be different than the synthetic products I used to use, but they are effective, easy to use – and safe.
You can find the same success. You might prefer baby steps, or you might need to make a huge change to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle. Do whatever works best for you. You’ll appreciate living healthier.
Is it easier for you to make baby steps or huge changes? What healthy cosmetics do you prefer to use?
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